Abhishek A Bhagat, is Senior President and leads Innovation & Knowledge Banking initiatives at YES BANK. Abhishek drives Corporate Products Strategy apart from incubating new Knowledge Banking verticals like Ecommerce, Travel, Logistics etc which are likely to drive Indian Industry over the next decade. Abhishek is Post Graduate from IIM Kozhikode.
Q: The banking segment has been one of the earliest adopters of technology? What are the technology trends you are seeing in this industry?
A: Technology has become ubiquitous and has been the driving force behind the growth and proliferation of the banking industry. In the recent times, technology has been a real game-changer in the way banks function. Using innovative technology, banks have come up with differentiated products and services that cater to the needs of their users and deliver a superior customer experience. Technology has also brought about a paradigm shift in the way services are being delivered and consumed by end users.
We have several instances where the technology has enabled the comfort and convenience of users. Be it the use of the Internet or mobile banking, ATMs or Point of Sale (POS) terminals. All these have contributed immensely to enriching the user experience. Mobility payment has been another noteworthy step towards extending better and superior services to customers. Globally, there have been multiple solutions available on the Mobile wallet and payments where the users can pay online and from within the comfort of their homes, workplaces etc. by accessing banking services via social networking sites. These options provide comfort, convenience and flexibility to access banking and financial services 24x7, thereby catering to the needs of customers as and when they require.
“Using innovative technology, banks have come up with differentiated products and services that deliver a superior customer experience”
Eliminating the need to carry cash or even cards by allowing users to pay via their mobile phones has been another breakthrough innovation in the area of customer services. User experience has and is going to be the center of all technology-led innovations and developments where organizations will strive to provide a human touch to even the most complex of technologies.
Companies today are emphasizing not only on customer service delivery but also on the ergonomic needs of their employees. They have therefore introduced concepts like BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), work from home, flexible working hours etc. Introduction of such practices has resulted in enhanced employee satisfaction, increasing commitment towards work and a sense of ownership towards the organization. All these have been made possible due to the advent of technological innovations.
Banks today are embracing the following key technology trends to realize benefits:
- Developing an innovation infrastructure
- Enhancing Big Data Capability to further enhance customer centricity
- Building capabilities in customer analytics
- Transforming digital channels through convergence
- Focusing on core banking transformation so as to enhance competitiveness
- Undertaking branch optimization
- Simplifying customer engagements to improve all repeated encounters
- Building a global innovation perspective
Q: How has Yes Bank geared up for the digital age? How have you aligned yourself to provide 21st century banking?
A:YES BANK has always been at the forefront when it comes to leveraging the latest technologies to provide products and services to its customers. This philosophy is also reflected in our five brand pillars, where technology has been identified as a key pillar and is considered a true differentiator.
Many first-mover implementations have provided YES BANK with long lasting business advantages and also enabled the bank to win many accolades. With one of the finest direct banking platforms, we are the first Bank in India to offer two-factor authentication (2FA) and single PIN access across all electronic channels. Every division at YES BANK extensively uses IT to deliver superior products and services to its customers. Innovations like MONEY MONITOR, Mobile payments, Two-factor authentication, Mobile Banking, RFID in branches, one-view of the customer relationship and highly advanced speech enabled IVR; enable the product and sales teams to offer superior customer offerings.
As a new-age private sector bank, YES BANK has invested in various new age technologies and mediums. YES BANK was one the first among financial services companies in India to have its own Facebook and Twitter accounts.
As the Bank gets further and deeper into consumer banking, it will be using the digital medium in a very effective medium. The bank already uses the digital medium in its marketing approach to capture the mind share of Gen X and target Point of First Market Entry consumers.
We have had 100 percent y-o-y increase in our digital spends and the bank has moved from using this medium not just as a platform for information sharing but a main-stream acquisition channel.
Q: What are the changes that you have seen in the customer landscape over the last few years? How have client needs evolved?
A:The customer landscape has seen some significant changes in the past few years with digitization taking place in the everyday life of the current day connected consumer. Different studies show that the consumer will switch more easily between channels. 2015 is going to be the age of the cross-channel buyer. As we see online purchases increasing, banks too will need to move from traditional branch banking to Digital Banking.
With digitization will come great opportunities. Since we will be entering an age of cross-channel buyers, Banks will expand and connect their online and offline strategies. They will provide digital solutions like mobile banking, Digital-only branch, netbanking etc. to enhance the experience of their customers.
Q:What has been your IT strategy? How is technology driving your productivity and customer responsiveness?
A: Since its inception, YES BANK has been actively implementing technology to provide better products and services to its customers. Technology has also helped the bank’s business to expand and foray new spaces. YES BANK has differentiated itself by embracing world-class, state-of-the-art technology Many first mover implementations have provided the bank long lasting advantages, and won it industry recognitions.
The Bank has additionally adopted technology and international banking best practices in the area of governance frameworks to ensure that it provides the highest standards of service quality and operational excellence to customers.
The technology architecture and innovative IT Outsourcing structure has enabled YES BANK to achieve high standards of Customer Service at comparatively lower cost structures.
YES BANK continues to strengthen its strategic partnerships with some of the best known IT majors globally, to develop innovative system features to improve process efficiencies and create sector-specific banking solutions. The Bank has developed a robust Business Continuity plan to address risks and secures systems that are vital to the operations of the business. Interestingly, having taken a conscious decision to focus on its core banking business, YES BANK has outsourced its entire IT operations including Application management and Infrastructure management. This strategic move has given YBL an edge in the market
Q: What is the role you forsee for technology in the banking space going forward?
A: Technology will need to play a significant role in enhancing the spread and reach of the banking industry..
Going forward, technology will play an important role within the banking domain. It will drive:
- Financial Inclusion
- Social Banking
- A consistent Customer Experience across channels
- Information Technology Security and agility in Processes and controls
- SMAC (Social Media, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud Computing)
In the years ahead, banks will need to use technology for the following:
- Business process reengineering efforts
- Productivity improvement measures
- Customer service quality improvement measures
- Technology led centralization initiatives
- Innovative customer acquisition measures
- Workflow and automation tools for tracking/monitoring operational efficiency
- Cost efficiency and asset efficiency measures such as virtualization, Cloud, etc.
- Integrating IT Systems in the front, middle and back office
- Energy management and Green computing
- Effective technology deployment and management
- Open Source solutions